So I started kicking around this idea yesterday and would like to run it by the Permies people. There are many mono-crop farmers and ranchers that are losing out big time because of their agricultural practices. Ranchers in Texas are having a hard time feeding and watering their herds with this drought, areas of the Midwest are starting to become dust bowl like due to stripping the land...etc. You have all seen this, you know what I mean.
I am sure that this land has been in possession of some of these people for generations and are now faced with losing it by not being able to pay the taxes on it, etc. This must be devastating for them.
My idea is this: What if wanna-be permies and homesteaders (people like me who are stuck in the city for now) could work with these farmers and ranchers to help them keep their land?
*Say a ranch has 2,000 acres. Could they rent out 10-20 5 acre plots (5 year lease) for people to build permaculture gardens? Would low rent (as it takes ALOT of work to start something like that) on 10-20 parcels be enough to cover the taxes thus letting them keep the ranch? Another side benefit for them would be a section of improved land on their property and access to fresh produce.
**For the permaculturist wanna-be this would be a great oppourtunity to design from the ground up and test their ideas.
So...now that my idea is out there, I would like to hear from you. Do you think this is something that is feasible? Do you know farmers or ranchers on the brink of losing their property that this could just possibly save it for them? And if you DO like this idea, how would you suggest going about talking to the public about it?
If it were me: I'd come up with a short written statement on what you'd like to accomplish, so you can hand people the paper and have them take a look when they have time. Additionally, you could give copies to other people to hand out, so you wouldn't have to always do your pitch in person. Get a couple people who are committed to the project and who will definitely see it through a year or two as growers, and then start canvassing for land in your area. Work on getting the first plot going as a "success story" and you're more likely to get others involved, or sway people who were considering it but not sure.
I'd suggest contacting something like a 4-H club in your desired area, they might be able to put you in touch with someone. Or you could go to a farmers' market, feed and seed, maybe tractor supply - and see if they'll let you hang up a notice.
I agree that printing something out would be ideal. I think this would be a great idea for anyone interested...not just me.
H Ludi Tyler wrote:I think it's great. The main difficulty might be housing. And trust.
I agree. There are alot of problems. But, it is good to start looking at this sort of thing now.
The more I have been looking into urban gardening/homesteading it is almost impossible. The community is there in Texas...tons of people want to make use of the space and do the work...get rid of lawns and grow food, but there are too many suits making laws that restrict those actions (see Georgetown...http://urbanfarming.georgetown.org/, notice the continual use of the word: regulations). My husband and I did a drive in a few different parts of Austin and there are TONS of abandoned homes and commercial buildings. It would be nice for those to be torn down and allow permaculture, strawbale building, etc. BUT, there is the whole red tape thing. There ARE some neighborhoods set up for serious urban homesteading, but most of those people already own their homes.
It is a vicious cycle getting trapped into the city. That is why I think it is important to start looking at options...for everyone out there feeling trapped. The land share idea that Dave posted is awesome. It actually reminds me of stories that my great-Grandparents would tell me about what life was like in "the good old days." People helping people, a real sense of belonging, family outside of family.
H Ludi Tyler wrote:Wow, those are expensive!
They are, but a genius type person could figure out how to build one of those...at not so much of a cost. I can cook, sew and do other wonderful things, but when it comes to building plans like that...I am not so brilliant.
It is a great idea though and I hope you can get it going if that is your dream
I would be interested in knowing if studies have been done on the same situation in other peoples parts of the world.
How do you get people to grasp this information? I think the land share is ideal, but as Americans, we have established that there are too many complications for it to take root overnight. And yes...buying up land would also be ideal, but this is just not feasible for some people...(if you would like to PM me for reasons why, there are plenty, we just do not need to get into it on this thread).
Any more thoughts?
when in a permies forum, one might think that permies are everywhere, but i think this is perception bias. I suspect there are very few yous out there. and of the few of yous, there are even fewer that would be willing to relocated to the middle of nowhere with no road, and no utilities even if the rent were free.
The general concept, though, of obtaining small parcels of land amongst the larger ones, and (hopefully) making something work that the local people would otherwise have no concept of, is a good one.
H Ludi Tyler wrote:I don't agree sharecropping is a good idea. It is an exploitative arrangement, not permacultural at all, in my opinion.
Depends on the owner. For example, I have people who sharecrop with me, and all I get out of it enough to protect the land and cover basic costs associated with having someone using part of the property (like fences). It is customary as well for them to share some fruits, etc with us, when they have extra, but we do the same too.
I do it with people who might well be exploited, if they didn't have this opportunity.
A timing clock, fuse wire, high explosives and a tiny ad:
The $50 and Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler - digital downloadhttps://permies.com/wiki/23442/digital-market/digital-market/Underground-House-Book-Mike-Oehler